*Warning…explicit content. This is a very personal experience that I have been aprehensive to share about. I am doing it in the hopes of helping another woman find her voice too. Please be kind with comments/responses. Thank you!
Rape is any sexual activity in which one person doesn’t give their full consent from the start, wants to withdraw their consent after giving it, or is incapable of giving consent in the first place.
In my particular case, consent was never given. I was 19, he was 29. It was our second date. I wasn’t planning on having sex with him. We were parked making out in my car. He went down on me, then coming back up just pulled it out and the next thing I knew he was inside of me. He didn’t even give me the chance to say no. No condom. No choice. No respect.
I didn’t know what to do. I thought about telling him to stop, but he was a big guy of 200 plus pounds. I was barely over half that. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fight him off.
I was also just out of an abusive relationship both physically and emotionally. A relationship where I had been forced into sex on numerous occasions. That in itself is an example of rape that many refuse to accept. My self esteem was at an all time low. It even occurred to me that I never said “no” so maybe it was my fault.
Soon it was over. He pulled out to ejaculate. How thoughtful of him. Worried of course about fathering an unwanted child, but not of a woman’s right to have a say whether he puts his dick in her or not. Not to mention the potential for STD’s. Why not just use a damn condom? Probably because that would have given me enough time to tell him “no.”
Understandably I never talked to him again after that. Not even when he called me later that night to make sure I made it home safely. Really?! Nevermind the fact that he violated my most precious right just a couple of hours earlier! I let it go to voicemail. He called a few more times after that, but I was disgusted by the guy and wanted nothing to do with him. He acted perplexed as to why all of a sudden I was ignoring him. After all he had a great time that night.
I will never forget it. I have played it over in my head a million times. Different ways I could have handled it, different ways it could have turned out, how I might be different today had it not happened…all thoughts that have echoed in my mind these past 18 years. I wonder if he has done it to other women? How many? Did they tell him no? If so, did he become violent?
Every sexual violation causes wounds
I know for a fact that it has had a lasting effect on me. I wouldn’t still think about it so often and so analytically almost 20 years later if it didn’t have an impact. I’m sure it has effected me on deeper subconscious levels that I’m not even fully aware of. Just because it wasn’t the stereotypical image painted by society of what rape looks like, it doesn’t make it any less damaging. It doesn’t in any way shape or form make it ok! I didn’t say “yes” and that means “no!”
There is no excuse for rape
It does not matter what a woman is wearing, if she is flirtatious, drunk, on drugs, or passed out. Her body is her body!! If a man doesn’t get a “yes” then that always means “no!!” Always!!! If those rights are violated then consequences must be had by the perpetrator. And not a slap on the wrist with a “boys will be boys” or “she was asking for it” excuse to negate responsibility either. I don’t care if you’re rich or poor, black or white, muslim, christian, gay, or straight….no fucking means no!! Whether it is verbal or not! Whether it is before intercourse, or during. If there isn’t obvious continual mutual consent then it is rape. Period!
It is very possible that the guy thought it was consensual. We were making out in a parked vehicle, then he began performing oral sex on me and before I knew it he was penetrating me and we were having intercourse. Maybe he thought I wanted it as so many men say as their defense in a date rape situation. Just assuming something is never the same as knowing something, and should never be allowed as a valid defense.
Sure, I did make some really stupid and dangerous choices that night as well as many others during my teenage years. I’m lucky I didn’t end up dismembered in the guy’s freezer. I take responsibility for my choices that night, but I’ll be damned to weigh down my shoulders with the responsibility of his stupid choices that night as well. And for the record it is always, always a man’s choice where he puts his penis!
We live in a very gender biased nation. Rape culture is prominent in our society. A term coined by feminists in the 1970’s, Rape Culture refers to the minimalism of sexual violence and the objectification of women in our society.
It is victim blaming, while the true guilty party never sees the inside of a jail cell. It is men thinking It is ok to harass women on the street. It is the media portraying women as objects of sexuality. It is the notion that women are “asking for it” by wearing certain things, or acting in certain ways. It is men getting high fives for getting “laid” and women being called sluts for the same damn thing!
Giving rapists minimal consequences allows rape to continue
All of this behavior, all of these beliefs allow men to continually violate women and suffer minimal to no consequences for their actions. This is why so many women suffer in silence. This is why 2 out of 3 sexual assaults go unreported. This is why women often feel ashamed, and blame themselves when they are sexually violated. This is why for so many years I wasn’t sure if what happened to me even constituted rape. By definition I was raped, by public opinion it’s a hung jury.
Today I am the Mother of a 4 year old little girl and Stepmother of a ten year old girl. I worry for them growing up in a male driven society. I worry that my Stepdaughter at ten already loves makeup, wants to wear a bra, and talks about having a “boyfriend” at school. I worry that the women they look up to are pop stars that dance provocatively, wearing next to nothing, singing about sex. I worry that one day they too will be faced with a situation similar to mine, or worse.
The only thing I can guarantee them is knowledge. Because men aren’t taught about not raping women, women have to be taught about how not to get raped. I will arm my Daughters with the knowledge that they are worthy of respect. That their body is theirs and only theirs, and that nobody has the right to do anything to it without their consent. Nobody! Not even a date, not even their boyfriend or Husband.
I also happen to be the Mother of a 13 year old boy, and Stepmother to a 14 year old boy. I will teach them that they never ever have the right to take advantage of a woman in any situation. I will teach them to respect women in every way possible. My Son and Stepson will be the guys protecting women from rape by being an example of men with dignity and conviction. Examples of what every man should stand for.
What happened to me that night 18 years ago shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t happen to anyone. Sadly it happens a lot more often than we are aware of. This needs to not be a normal occurrence. This especially needs to not be something that women are ashamed of talking about! That will never allow this atrocity to be overcome.
Women need to band together and stand up for one another. Men need to stand up for us too. Because every time rape is brushed under the rug, ignored, or kept silent all together it is allowing it to continue! And every time a rape is committed, which in this country is every 2 minutes, it is happening to someone’s Mother, someone’s Daughter, someone’s Sister, Aunt, Cousin, or friend. It is happening to a human being. It happened to me, and maybe it happened to you too.
If you have been the victim of rape, abuse, or incest you can get help. Call the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) at (800) 656-HOPE